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Author Topic: The Jaded Dream Legacy  (Read 1386 times)

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Offline recoveringgeek

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The Jaded Dream Legacy
« on: 03/14/16, 10:57:58 PM »
From December 4, 2013 to October 31, 2015 The Villem Legacy thread was my personal story board regarding my varied characters, personalities, plots, and sagas.

In just under two years  of gameplay and commitment, it generated 35 posts, and over 3800 views. I had a lot of fun creating it, growing it, and using it as a springboard for my ideas and stories. I am proud that I inspired others to do something similar, including using screenshots to tell a visual tale beyond just words and text.

While The Villem Legacy contained all my characters, it truly became home to the ongoing machinations of Admiral Eldarus Villem, and those posts were some of the most fun to write. However the Villem family saga has ended for now, both with the death of Admiral Villem as a character, and the withdrawal of Paskr Villem as both a personality, and an active character I'm playing.

I'm starting a new Legacy now. I think of this as going to back to basics, with my first character, and possibly my best, or worst, depending on who's opinion you listen to!

It's a galaxy of fallen empires and broken spirits now. A galaxy of lost hope and rediscovered purpose.

For some it's a galaxy of new beginnings, and for others, it will always remain a galaxy of jaded dreams.
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: The Jaded Dream Legacy
« Reply #1 on: 03/14/16, 11:59:40 PM »

Nar Shaddaa

Location: Mon Calamari Light Freighter Dynamene
Interior: Cargo Bay


Pehn rubs his face, a few days growth of beard whispering under his greasy palm as he frees himself from under the console. The 'new' ship was a wonder...a precision-built engine created by genuine craftsmen. An engine that he was coming to realize he had little-to-no idea, precisely, how to maintain. It was like going from inflating balloons to playing the tuba...close enough to be familiar, but far enough to make a fart noise when you're looking for a pop.

The new hires were helpful...but he'd need to get this thing to Dac, try to find the shipwrights who made it and, somehow, convince them not to rat him out to House Thul, or whatever other allies the now-dead Prince had. And there was the cargo hold...full of the sinister collector's last and latest collection...a fortune, that he had no idea who to sell to and what it was worth, nowadays.

At least everyone wants to help, he thought. Friends, lovers, and partners had all offered to take up the reins on the deal, do the legwork, use the contacts they'd accrued over the years he'd missed to get it done cleanly, and efficiently, and without him having to worry his primitive little mind about it. He snorted.

You could always ask them to make the intros, get you started, let you learn the game again... He scowled. He'd been an alecake once, years ago. But he'd earned his spurs and he'd made his name and he had a reputation, dammit, and pride! He had bones to rattle, once, and it stuck in his craw that...

He shook his head. "Whine, whine, whine."

The ship's power generator thrummed with a pulse, rather than the telltale rattle and growl of a traditional Corellian or Kuati bird. Even now, just on low power, idling, she hinted at tremendous performance and capability.

Not that Tragger Thul hadn't done his best to hide the smooth curves and rounded hull plating with garish tapestries, ornate furniture, Alderaanian computer terminals, scarred cargo crates from every corner of the galaxy, and one uneven slab of carbonite...

Pehn wiped his face and hands, following the thrum as it fed through the power conduits and slinked through the paralight guides. He took a detour through the main hold, into the cargo bay, now stuffed even more with the Prince's clutter and objets d'fart. He moved a few things aside - a bejeweled soup tureen, a little model of a palace with an irimoya roof and revealed the carbonite slab.

The agonized form of Jaade lay encased in frozen silence, the drab slab slightly brightened by a mandarin's cap and a long silken scarf wrapped around the midsection...considerations for the poor old shark.

"Cold enough for you, Old Man?"

Steam wafted lazily from the base of the slab, as the coolant engine kept the internal temperature perfect, for hibernation. The control panel winked with life support readings, as well as the chronometer and date stamps.

Pehn checked the readouts...significantly different from the tibanna-storage scanners he was used to. This whole 'freeze people like cargo thing' had really swept the Galaxy in the last twenty years or so. Skiptracers were putting provisos in their contracts that ensured that carbon-frozen targets would warrant 'alive' payments, even if they died shortly after defrosting...he shivered.

"Twenty-five. It's twenty-five, you dumb son-of-a-Gand." Pehn shook his head...noticed the date-markings. It hadn't been THAT much longer for the Old Man, since they'd put him in the ice-tray. "Guess we're two of a kind."

His face had the contorted look of a man defiant to the end, until the pain came, and while it had only lasted a moment, his face had carried that pain for more than five years now...

"'cept I can do this." Pehn made a similar face, then let it relax. "And this." Pehn reached down and drew his pistol, giving it a gunspinner's flourish before holstering it again. "And this!" Pehn brought his heels together with a click and began doing a little shimmy-and-shake.

Pehn's audience was the rush of coolant flushing the pipes, the echo of the cargo bay deck plates, and the occasional groan of starship grade metal adjusting to temperature.

"Annnnnd this!" Pehn reached over and grabbed a valuable flimsiplast geneology and riffled the pages in Jaade's frozen face. "And THIIIIIIS!" Pehn kicked a leg up and, inartifully and gracelessly, stuck it behind his head for a moment, leaning against the carbonite slab to maintain his one legged balance. "Annnnnnd THIIIIIII-" Pehn reached out to play a nearby cymbal and lost his balance, tottering over and slamming into the massive iceman before losing his unipodal balance and falling over backwards.

Pehn managed to get his foot out from behind his head as he tumbled to the ground, cringing in pain as his thigh-muscles ached from the unstretched effort, and his face ached from impacting with the incredibly dense carbonite block. He sprawled out a moment, moaning. "Well, you still got a helluva punch, Ol' Timer..."

The carbonite was unforgiving on Pehn's body, but also, not unmovable, and he heard the first crack, before another, and then the weight was unstoppable, and the slab snapped free of the base, and crashed into the floor with tremendous noise, obliterating a collection of Coruscanti pottery worth thousands...

Pehn frowned, opening his eye to see the teetering slab shatter the ancient Zhelline pottery turn to trash...and skid towards him. His reflexes kicked into over time...despite his muscles complaints, he brought his knees up towards his chin and kicked out, sending himself skidding over the carpet-strewn floor and away from the impact of the slab, with barely a meter of clearance between himself and the steaming lump. "...augh. Still got a bad attitude, too."

Pehn gingerly rose to his feet to investigate the scene. The impact had unbalanced the slab, and it had snapped free of the base. The regulating devices and gasses that kept it in one piece were hissing free into the air...and not into the solid carbonite mixture. "Aww, nerts."

The carbonite lay there, awkwardly strewn across the cargo bay floor, having scattered smaller cargo containers and generally made a mess of the already crowded bay. The blue-green display on the side winked once, then twice, then turned red, and started to flash rapidly.


"...how the hell'm I supposed to do that?" He looked around frantically...there wasn't a tab or a pull-cord on the frozen felon that just reattached him. It would require...well, it would require an entire carbonite freezing facility to accomplish that. And if this ship had one, he'd probably just tipped Jaade over onto it.

The display screen flashed red urgently, as life signs neared critical levels.

"Aww, dammit. Fine. Fine! Just don't be...scrambled...in there..." Pehn kneeled down and glanced over the panel, then entered the keystroke sequence that would start the thaw and stepped away from the slab. As the process began, he glanced towards the still beeping base and hoped to not see a pair of feet sticking out of it...

The display alternated between red, denoting critical life signs, and a sequence timer showing the progress of the thaw. The heat was rapid, and palpable. The entire front of the carbonite slab began to glow. The layer covering Jaade was quite thin, despite the hardiness of the carbonite, and as the heat reached critical mass, pinpoint holes appeared in the thin veneer, and started to disintegrate.

Pehn covered his eye and moved over to a wall console, moving aside a hanging bit of art and depressing the keys for 'ventilate' and 'summon adjutant'. "Medkit. And water. Maybe body bag..."

The heated carbonite made crackling noises as it thawed and was eaten by the transfer of energy. A body could be seen underneath now, pale, and lifeless. Just as the heat seemed unbearable, the veneer was completely disintegrated, and the slab display winked slower, then stopped, then extinguished, leaving a cold, black screen.

Augustus Jaade lay there in a mold crafted from his own body. He hadn't aged a day.

Pehn limped back towards the motionless form, limned in gas and slumped around the damaged mold. He looked down at his old friend, and scanned him for any sign of survival.

Still, silent, unmoving.

The sound Jaade's lung made was frightening to Pehn. His body lurched as he frantically gasped the first air in years. He sounded like a man who had nearly been suffocated to death.

"Kark me!" Pehn lurched back, cringing as his over-extended muscles cried out in pain. "He made it!"

Jaade's body started to convulse, as his lungs forced air into his body, the rest of his muscles atrophied from years of hibernation.

"Yeerg. Where's that..." Pehn slapped his forehead. They'd had to gun down the adjutant droid when it tried to blast them (an anti-pirate precaution from the previous owners), and hadn't had time to reprogram and reassemble it. "Jaade! Just remember to breathe...I'll be right back!'

The sucking sound filled the cargo bay as his lungs struggled to remember how to work.

Pehn stumbled out of the cargo bay and grabbed an emergency medkit, rushing back in as the bay's fans sucked out the heavy gasses and cycled in fresh air. "Here ya go, Poppa Sickle..." Pehn fished out a low-grade adrenal and a breath mask, injecting the hypo into Jaade's frighteningly-thin neck and settling the mask over his face.

It took several frightening moments before his breathing regulated from dying gasps to ragged exhalations. His body still shook, and there, finally, his voice. A moan of pain.

Pehn chuckled. "Yeah, I'm glad to see you, too."

Jaade's hand shook uncontrollably as he fumbled at the mask, but his motor skills were shot to hell.

"Careful, careful...you just got outta the chiller. You're all kinds o' kriffed up..."

The mask augmented his ragged breathing, though it was slowly becoming regular as the adrenaline worked it's way through his body, giving it an unnatural boost. He struggled to sit up, stuck in the mold like a baby akk dog in a box.

Pehn strained his brain...he'd intended to have Doc Kyri on hand for this, or at least someone who'd removed something from deep freeze more complex than a SpacerStuffer Frozen Dinner. He reached in and carefully lifted Jaade about the shoulders, disturbed both by his leeched vitality and the awful gooey remnants of the biofreeze. "Uh, you're probably blind. I think that's temporary, though."

His breathing grew more rapid, probably mild anxiety as his brain sent signals to his arms and legs that were ignored. His gaze was unfocused, and if he understood Pehn's words, he gave no immediate sign.

"Uh...good news! You didn't lose any more hair."

Finally, with another grunt of pain, and once he was sitting, his hand fumbled at the mask and tore it downward. freeing his mouth and face. His breathing was shallow, but measurable, and he tried to speak, but a hoarse croak was all that emerged.

"Can't make you out, chummer. Here..." He took out the small bottle of water and thumbed open the squirt-tab, offering some hydro to the struggling spacer.

Jaade's hand fumbled at the water futilely, unable to hold it.

Pehn looked left, then right, then up, then left again to make sure absolutely no one was looking, and then helped Jaade tilt his head and gave him the water. "Here you go, Jaade. Just a swallow, now."

The water dribbled down his lips until he remember how to pucker and the instinct to drink seized him until Pehn had to take the water away. Jaade coughed as the water and his breathing fought in his throat. He sputtered again, then uttered a word. "Take."

Pehn patted his back to make sure he didn't choke on the few swallows. "There you go, li'l bit o' the soft stuff. Take?"

"Take... " he breathed "off blindfold."

Pehn winced. "No blindfold...carbon-poisoning, it'll keep you blind for awhile, but it'll probably clear up. Just keep your eyes shut...you don't want 'em open an' wide when the light comes back."

Jaade's fingers brushed near his temple, as if disbelieving, and then fell back to his side, as he closed his eyes and focused on breathing.

Pehn patted Jaade's back uncomfortably. He remembered, briefly, the pain and disorientation when his orbital implant first came online...the feeling of having half the world seem faked, made up, misty and indistinct. "Yeah, it sucks. I got frozen, once, for a few hours an' felt like kinrath spit. You're probably somewhere on the ground-up kinrath colon end o' the spectrum, right now."

"P... " he breathed. "Pehn?"

"Well, glad you didn't ask for me to take the earfold off!"

He extended his hand shakily for the water.

Pehn carefully handed it to him, hovering his hand nearby to keep it from dropping and casting only a quick glance around to make sure nobody noticed.

Jaade focused his efforts and drank like a thirsty baby, before his hands dropped again from the effort, Phen saving the hydro with a timely catch.

"Nice work...we'll have you back on solid food before long!"

"Pehn... jail?"

"They ain't built the jail that can hold me AN' you. Nah, you're free."

A moan escaped his lips, whether disgust or disbelief, too soon to tell.

"Well, ain't THAT gratitude. If you had any idea the lengths I'd gone through to get your ass outta hock...well. You'd probably still be on the floor. But in gratitude!"

"Wh... where?"

"You're on my ship, in a spaceport in Vertical City, on Nar Shaddaa."

Another moan. "No Hutts."

"Nah, no Hutts. I bribed some Corellian expats to let us use a slipway that's 'sposed to be kept free for CEC dignitaries. Don't you feel better now? You're a dignitary!"

A shaky finger pointed right at Pehn, except two feet to the right. "Stolen."

"Stolen what? Your heart? Your thunder? This shirt?"

His hand dropped. He flexed his fingers, wincing. "Wanted? Hunting you?"

"Mmm. Nah, I don't think so. I been PRETTY careful, so far. Fake names, fake credentials...even got a journalista runnin' interference."

Jaade leaned his head back against the bulkhead. His eyes were still closed. Then he frowned. Not from pain. "Liar."

"Uh, yeah...what'd you do, catch a conscience in there? I've heard of freezer burn, but never freezer snoot."

He coughed once, then leaned his head back again. "Not C.E.C."

"Well OF COURSE I'm not CEC...I don't like green, an' I never could ken what those Drall were sayin'."

Jaade's hand reached up and touched the bulkhead he was sitting against. "Ship. Not Corellian. Doesn't sound right." The rasp in his voice had faded to that of a sore throat now.

Pehn slaps his forehead and gives out a big belly laugh. "Damn! Good ear. No, you're right...the ship ain't the Rodomontade. It's new...Mon Cal special. Custom work, submersible capabilities, powerful engines an' a hyperdrive we're still shavin' the points off of."

Jaade sputtered. "Pehn... fisherman?"

Pehn laughs some more. "Yeah, you know me. Spearfishin' an' pearl-divin'!"

Jaade reaches out for the hydro again, taking a long drink, then lowering it rather than dropping it. "Foolish. Jedi will come. I hit them."

Pehn shakes his head, then remembers that he's blind and says. "Eh, probably not. They got bigger things to worry about, nowadays."

"Foolish. Why?"

"Aww, grife, I'm still not fully pinged on it myself. Them an' the Sith made friends with some new heavies from Wild Space, got whipped five ways from Centaxday an' put out to pasture."

Jaade feels around him, touching his surroundings, listening, then his hands pause. "Pehn. How many died? To get me?"

"Hmmmm. Well, honestly, I got no kriffin' clue. It's been awhile since you got put in the basement...an' you got hijacked on your way to wherever it is the Jeedai store their icecube trays. Brintte picked you up, kept you in her collection, an' then lost you. You got traded around a few times, then I got hired to track you down."

"However many folks bought tea over your slab 'til then, I'd just be makin' shaxt up. Since I been on the case, though...nobody worth weepin' over. Gangers, raiders, monsters. One fancy lad. A whole karkload of Killiks. Some dickhead Selkath Old Hatters. A real son-of-a-bitch Alderaanian."

"Traded? Brintte was supposed to find Auranel, not me." He coughed as his voice got agitated. "How long did she have me Pehn? A month?"

"Ehhh. Longer."

"Three months? Traded to a Hutt?"

"No, no Hutts. You got stolen by a beer'n'pie guy, then his crew mutinied an' went pirate, then they crashed on Tatooine an' you were Jawa scrap, an' they traded you to this Alderaanian Prince. An' then I got you back!"

"An' it was a bit longer'n that, don't sweat it."

Jaade exhaled, clearly frustrated for many reasons. "Problem."

"Yeah, there're probably a few."

"I need to use the Head."

Pehn rubbed the back of his head, then realized he had carbo-thaw goo on it and gritted his teeth. "Awww, grife. OK. Let's see if you can stand up..."

The effort is graceless and painful for both men, but eventually Jaade is transported to the Head, and then to the crew lounge, to find a seat more comfortable than cold deck plates.

Pehn uses the captain's fresher to get some of the goo off of him, then sets to work preparing SOMETHING edible. "OK...we should probably get you a sawbones to look you over. You might need time in the tank, or somethin'..."

Jaade sat with a cold drink in hand, for his parched throat, and a warm blanket for his chilled shoulders, but seemed in no mood to talk about his own health. "If Brintte lost me, then who hired you to find me?"

Pehn once again curses the stupid cook-droid for going gun-crazy. "Oh, it was Brintte. She tracked me down an' offered me oodles to come find you. Got a crew together, chased you around, li'l jack, li'l nightwork."

Jaade turned his sightless gaze towards Pehn's voice. "Crew?"

"Yeah...some folks I used to run with, an' some newbloods we picked up on the way."

"Pehn, straight answer. Did anyone on your crew die to get me here?"

"No! Of course not. We took a few hits, but we came out OK in the end. It was hairy, a few times, but we still got the clippers, if you follow me." Pehn smirks and strains some protein-mass into the food-prepper, setting it to flash-cook it.

"Six months. Maybe eight? Hell. Eight months. Chase me from the Core to Hutt Space. She could be anywhere."

Pehn winces. "Listen, Jaade...seriously, as your rescuer an' also cook an' also (but don't ever tell anyone about it) your water-bearer, I'm tellin' you...don't sweat that stuff right now. Time passed. Shaxt went down. But there's still plenty o' black out there to get lost in."

"You... you ever hear about Aura, when you were... she was gone, when I got there."

"Yeah, I got a bit o' scuttlebutt on that. Nothin' definitive...I just heard that she took the Valkyrie an' went out to make 'er own way. No hard, no foul." Pehn cringes as he removes the cooked protein-mash out of the prep-box (tonight's flavor: Extra Mild Nerf Curry) and uses a spoon to divide it between two bowls. From the word he'd gotten, she had been lucky, lucky, lucky to get out of there before the hit came down.

"Lots of black. Yeah, maybe. Maybe she got lost. Maybe for good this time. Stay lost."

"Ain't a bad idea, sometimes. I spent two months buildin' asteroid-shelters once when the Exchange was after my keister. Two months o' low-G hijinks an' calcium-supplements. An' the only companion was an Aqualish with really bad hygiene." Pehn moves over to the couch and sits, placing the bowls before him and Jaade.

Jaade stared at the bowl, and then the smell hit and nausea took hold and he quickly pushed it away, reaching for the hydro.

Pehn made sure to get a fresh bottle...and a bucket, held aloft by a small hover-droid just in case.

Jaade leaned back, unable to focus his vision, and drank the water. "Just drop me at a shadowport somewhere. The moment someone sees me, it'll make it back to the Republic. You don't need that heat."

Pehn takes a taste of the pseudo-curry. Not that bad! A starving man could do worse. WAY worse! "We can worry 'bout that once you can walk an' eat without tippin' over or flippin' your gullet. Sith's blood, man, you just defrosted!'

"Who's the new player? Hitting Republic and Empire? Not even the Hutts are that dumb."

"They're called 'Zakuul'. 'Eternal Empire of Zakuul'. They're Human, I think...from outta Wild Space. Back awhile ago, some numbnuts from the Republic or Empire went in there an' sold tea to their Eternal Emperor, so his get came screamin' outta nowhere an' beat the Republic AN' the Empire lickety-split."

Jaade sipped his water, frowning, and then pushed the bowl further away. "What do you mean beat? Took a border System?"

"I mean, they picked 'em up by the scruff an' gave 'em a bastinado. These guys are crazy...they've got a giant droid fleet or somethin', bigger an' faster'n anythin' anyone's ever seen. They completely cut off the Republic an' Imperial Navies, destroyed shipyards an' choked off trade lines. They parked their asses over Limbo an' the Castle an' made 'em both beg for mercy."

Jaade shifted forward listening. "Droid fleet... that reminds me about something I lost. Speaking of ships, what is that? A hydro-propulsion drive? It sounds like water, but I heard they run them on a plasma charge. Where is the Rodo?"

Pehn rubs his head, putting down his bowl. "I'm not sure how the drive works yet...I think it might be somethin' like Nubian plasma, but I'm not gonna crack it open without a Mon Calamari engineer nearby to tell me what's what...or a Quarren who works cheap. I...eh, lost the Rodo."

Jaade paused. "Lost? Tell me you didn't bet her all in... "

"Sorta, in a way. I crossed an evil wizard, had to get creative to deal with 'im. Those droid ships from Zakuul? I knew where a few were an' I kinda poked 'em, got 'em to chase me. 'cept they was faster'n I figured an' they caught up sooner'n I'dve liked. They got the Rodomontade a few times, an' then I had to make the bo-Kessel way too close to the Maw..."

"So you did go all-in."

"Yeah. An' I won! But, my Rodomontade paid the price. Hyperdrive malfunction left me driftin' near Sluis Van. Got picked up by scrappers, had to junk 'er an' sell the scrap for seed money."

"Damn. I'm sorry Pehn. You did lose someone after all."

Pehn nods slowly. "Yeah. I lived on that ship for nigh-on twenty years. First investment I ever made that wasn't booze or skirts...first place I slept where I wasn't worried 'bout gettin' my stuff nicked by hooligans an' bounders."

"Plus, I had the chair just right...squeaked just the way I wanted an' had that two-stage lean so that I could take a nap at the yoke, if I wanted."

"I know."

"Buuuuuuut, that was then. This is now. Got a new ship with...plasmo-hydro whatsits. Kept a few pieces of the ol' Rodomontade, an' the most important parts: the me parts!"

"It's funny. I'm not tired at all. Sore as hell. Couldn't nap if a tried."

"Well, that's probably the adrenal. Also, you did sleep for fi-frighteningly long."

"I'm still dead weight. I can't see. I can't fly. I can't fight. Anyone smells me near you and droid ships will be the least of your problems."

"What'm I, Ronnie Pissypants the coward-weener-tiny-peener? I'm your bo-friend, an' I'm uniform an' jacked to the teeth. Knock it off with the pity-party, or I'll make sure they put chilled kolto in the tank." Pehn waggles his curry-spoon dangerously towards Jaade, the very image of a genuine bane to bowls of chow everywhere.

"It ain't pity. You know that I know better. It's a line. I crossed it. I made a bad bargain."

"Sure you did. An' you were dumb as a teenager on Zeltros with a rubber an' a hotel key. But...well. I crossed some lines, too. An' I know why you did it...an' I know that you got gulled."

"When did it get so complicated? Used to be you could slip customs, double-cross a Hutt, and catch the Skip Tracer with his armoured underpants down while you made the jump."

"Family, love, all that shazbot...it gets things tangled up. When you wanna have a future, you get all tangled up in an', suddenly, the stakes are totally skewed."

"Then you end up blind, broke, eating gruel on someone's fishing boat." He almost smiles, just for a moment.

"Hey, this is top quality protein-slurry. No gruel on the S.S. Glub-Glub!"

"Fine. So you're a Big Damn Hero. If both Navies got stuck in drydock, then it's must be a Smuggler's Paradise?"

"Ehhhhhh. These new guys, the Zaks, they're puttin' the squeeze big-time on the Republic and Empire...rulin' 'em as satrapies, basically. Most o' their money is either gettin' funneled to Wild Space, or used up armin' themselves to fight each other. From what I hear, almost every place needs beer 'n' pie bad. But the Zakuul have some sorta droid-stations in orbit 'round everyplace worth flyin' to, an' the gangs an' pirates have all had a huge resurgence."

"So, yes an' no. It's like all the worst parts of workin' durin' the war an' after the war."

Jaade reached out clumsily to the bowl, and pulled it close. Now that the smell had subsided, it seemed palatable. "This is where you tell me why you woke me up? There's a bright side of the star to this sorry state of the Galaxy, right?

Pehn scratched his beard, thinking. "Well, yeah. I mean, the opportunities are endless, right? Danger, action, romance. Also you were, uh, dyin'."

Jaade paused, spoon hovered mid bite. "Dying?"

"Yeah...somethin' went wrong with your slab, you got detached from the life-support. Nearly crushed me on the way down. Had to defrost you or you would've gone critical."

"Crushed is it? That something that went wrong. She a short, spit-fire Mandalorian with a chip and a rocket launcher on her shoulder?"

"It better not be...I still ain't collected on your keister. Not that you gotta worry 'bout that...I'm not gonna charge a naked man for a job someone else hired me for."

Jaade ate a few bites then pushed the bowl away. "Wait, if I hired her to find Aura, and Aura's in the Black, why the hell would she hire you to find me?"

"...other than that you got hijacked by mutineers, who then proceeded to lose you all over the goddamn Galaxy? I dunno. You'll have to ask her."

"My head still hurts. Asking will make it hurt more."

"Well, there'll be time to worry 'bout it later...we're secure, here, an' I'll get you a sawbones an' some treatment. An' prorate the charges to your beskar benefactress."

"Just another hole to dig out of. I already got Jedi problems. I ain't crossing the Mandalorians too."

"I lied. Now I'm tired. The adrenal wore off just right then. Let's call it here. I can't think with the buzzing in my head."

"Pssh! You can punch me later, when you can tell me apart from the completely silent Mandallian giants who've been helping you move this entire time. C'mon!"  Pehn carefully helps Jaade up, grinning and, somehow, finding it within himself to be big enough not to rub the 'Thanks' in.


To be continued...
« Last Edit: 03/15/16, 08:27:40 PM by recoveringgeek »
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: The Jaded Dream Legacy
« Reply #2 on: 03/18/16, 10:09:02 PM »

Jaade sits in the crew lounge, the lights still low. A fusion lantern sits on the dejarik table in front of him. He clicks it on, then off, then on again.

Pehn sits at the droid repair bench with a resistance tester, checking the programming of a blasted-apart adjutant droid. He occasionally closes his eye and sets to crossing circuits with a plasma-pen, literally 'changing its mind'.

"I can see a light blob, then a dark blob, then a light blob. I could probably land this ship now I'm sure."

"I dunno if you recall, but the 'blobs' we usually land on are gargantuan an' very, very solid. I'd probably worry 'bout bein' able to tell when I'm moonin' you 'fore you get behind the yoke again."

"When I slept. I didn't hear or see a thing. No dreams. Slept like the dead. Guess being frozen isn't the same as being at rest."

"Were you...did you ken how long it was?" Pehn puts his tool down and repositions the droid-head, letting a datapad scan the reconnections and give him a report. He looks over towards the flickering fusion lamp.

"No. Feels like just a few days ago." *click* *click* "I can still smell the damn carbonite chamber."

"Where'd they do it, anyway? Do the Jedi have a damn gas-foundry, or did they use one o' them arm-mounted spray thingies?"

"Took me to the sub-levels. Probably a transport and long-term storage plant or something. It happened pretty quietly and smoothly. I'm guessing the Republic has used that little trick before.

Pehn shakes his head. "Well, better'n gettin' sent to Belsavis...can't believe the zoo they shoved folks in. Did you know they had Zale Barrows runnin' cons to-an'-from that place?

"I didn't know. Not surprised. I turned down a few shady runs to Belsavis myself. Guess I know why now. I'm not one to talk. I smuggled Vysint for House Necare."

"Fixer's one thing...but shippin' cons to that basement is gilly as a Barabel glass-slipper."

*click* *click*

Pehn wipes the grease and metal-flinders from his hands with a cloth, walking over towards Jaade with bold, loud steps. He fishes a coin out from his vest, a Zakuulan valkor worth 500 credits, and starts dancing it across his knuckles.

"So, what's greasing your cargo lift? Even if you felt obliged to haul my slab, you probably sealed a few deals along the way."

"Did a bit o' jack-work along the way. Gangs an' bandits are back in style, thanks to the decimation o' the kids an' cookies. Add that to the creds I got for scrappin' the Rodomontade, an' my share o' the haul we dragged outta Alderaan along with the Dynamene an' your slab, an' I've got a war-chest again."

"So that makes you King Qardaak then? You going to revive Dawnstar and rule the hyperspace lanes?"

Pehn grimaces...keeping the precise length of time that's past quiet is getting harder and harder as time goes on. "Nah...that stuff, it was never for me. Fell into it headfirst, never really worked out. I kept it goin' outta memory, but it's gone now an' I'm not obliged to get back to it. I just wanna get this ship tuned to my wants, figure out how to deal with these new bozos on the scene, an' get back to playin' the Twi'lek an' cube game."

"That's good, for you. I'm barely warm and already too hot to hire. Guess this is retirement for me. Now all I need is coordinates, a ship, and credits to retire."

"Well, what the hell happened to the Jaded Dream?  I didn't hear 'bout the whitebellies or uncle pullin' that Gozanti monster outta hock after...y'know.  An' I KNOW you didn't let the Necares get their mitts on it!"

Jaade sighs. "She right where I left her. One of twenty-one sets of coordinates. She drops from hyperspace, broadcasts a short burst transmission, lingers for twenty-four standard hours, and makes the jump to lightspeed to the next set of coordinates. I can find her, I just need the exact date and time so I can begin the calculations... "


Jaade turns his gloomy-sighted eyes toward Pehn.

"That's gonna take a bit more'n a slipstick an' an abacus to put together, Jaade."

"Nah, an astromech with a Nav computer can find her though. I just need to input the coordinates. Some of my old hyperspace drops, cargo dumps, shadowports, and derelict space stations every good Captain who knows how to sit the chair can find."

"What'd you do, put a droid-brain in that thing?  You don't...have any folks workin' it, do you?"

"Droid and brain ain't two things that usually are said at the same time. Let's just say I gave the 'Dream a guide dog."

"..." Pehn rubs his chin, looking very uncomfortable.  Spacer's honor demanded that he come clean and let Jaade know that it'd been more than a week or a month since he'd taken the ice-nap.  Sense said that Jaade was in such a state that his natural reaction to that news, going punch-happy, would be very likely to hurt...well, probably Jaade. "That'd better be one good leash, Jaade."

"Sometimes you let a dog run to see if she comes home again. Besides, what problems could a GNK droid get into anyway? They're dumb bricks."

"...wait, you put that walkin' toolbox you used to pal around with in charge o' your slam?"

"The hell I did. I slaved that over-heated generator to my slam's primary controls, and then I wrote commands to remind it I'm in charge of him. All he has to do is fly, jump, transmit, and jump again. Hell, what's it been, ten, twelve months? He's barely made it through half the coordinates by now. Some of the jumps are far out, keep the 'Dream away from pirate lanes and custom corvettes doing their sweeps."

Pehn rubs his face.  There just really is no way out of it, now...not without being a complete and scurrilous coward. "Yeah, it should be OK, then.  Shoulda given you more credit.  Anyway, we'll get you on the trail once you can see.  An' walk."

"I've made soft landings with both eyes swollen shut and and a broken arm. I can manage this. Besides, I can almost see the gleam in your eyes when you talk about pulling teeth."

Pehn dances his Zakuulan coin back up his knuckles and nearly fumbles it.  He deftly recovers, and then flips it towards Jaade.  "Feel that."

The coin bounces off his forehead, causing the aged spacer to snap his head back in surprise. "What the hell is wrong with you." Jaade frowns and then smacks his hand down on the table as he hears the coin bounce and clatter.

"Hey, just testin' your sight...an' my aim.  Check it out...that's the new coin o' the realm."  The coin is embossed with the stern, aristocratic face of Valkorion on one side, and a depiction of the Spire on the other.

Jaade rubs it between his thumb and forefinger. "This long thing isn't a Hutt's tail is it?"

"Nope, it's apparently the capital of Zakuul...heard it's a city that takes up a fifth of the planet an' reaches all the way up into the stratosphere.  Everybody who lives up there's supposed to be rich as a Pasha an' twice as decadent.  Feel the metal...it's some kinda pseudo-gold they use on EVERYTHIN' there." The grain of the coin holds dataports...not too dissimilar from a standard Republic or Imperial cred-coin, but somehow holding a more authoritative weight.

Jaade turns the coin over in his fingers, pondering, almost with a familiar look that reminds Pehn of years past. "You said the Neighbours and the Old Lady got grounded. How bad? Taris bad?"

"Nah, not that bad...no Sacking.  These guys trashed Korriban, an' they hit shipyards an' choked off supply lines, then hung around in the sky 'til the few Sith Lords left an' a bunch o' Senators waved the white flag."

"Senators. What about the Jedi?" The coin turns in his fingers, then turns back.

"Ain't heard much of 'em...they apparently started playin' Pazaak after takin' some hits durin' the Eternal Fleet advance.  Heard rumors that a few stuck 'round to join the Republic Army proper...but most've 'em have gone to ground."

"So that's it then? We're stuck with new spaceport control?"

"Bit more'n that...but not MUCH more.  These guys forced the Republic an' Empire to sign terms ensuring they wouldn't fight an' would give ENORMOUS tributes to Zakuul, then put a ton o' big, nasty battlestations in orbit o' planets."

"Wait... tributes? What sort of tributes? How do they deliver the... " Jaade catches himself. "Doesn't matter. I can't even sit the chair. I suppose you already have an angle for yourself lined up?" He sits back, the mischievous look gone.

"I've heard all sortsa crap 'bout these guys...that they've got their own Jeedai, that they've got enormous droid factories, that they breed baby stars to power their stuff.  Got a lotta angles...but not much of a ping, yet."

"You got a crew though. You said so. If you need me off your deck plates so you can get back on schedule, then just get me out of Hutt space and we're square."

"Ehh, I got a baby grease-monkey, a broken-down droid, an' a snoopy reporter.  An' I STILL gotta get all these gewgaws turned to teeth, to pay off the folks who helped me spring your keister."

"Thought the Mandalorian paid your contract?"

"Yep, an' her creds are nice an' hard...but I run a fair ship, an' we pulled a LOT o' salvage an' loot outta this.  Everyone gets a share, an' the last thing I want is Foha or Ames comin' after me thinkin' I tried to gull 'em outta their hard-earned credits."

"Foha helped you snatch and thaw me?"

Pehn grins.  "Hell yeah, she did!  She helmed the ship we chased over space after you in.  Ames Ricker's still with 'er...he did heavy-duty for us.  An Echani pirate I knew came 'long, too...don't think you met 'er, an' she ditched us to go do...somethin' just 'fore we got you out.  Oh, an' Doc Orell, too."

"Orell? You know she's related to Republic military right? She's got all the stiff of a Jedi and none of the finger waving."

"Yeah, yeah...but, from what I heard, her brother the kid's had the starwind taken outta his solar-sails by what happened with the Eternal Fleet.  Plus, she wanted to play Life Doctor and keep ol' Pehn here from gettin' his ass blasted off chasin' a big score.  Still, she decked me at least twice.  I MAYBE deserved it once."

"Play Doctor? Oh no. Don't tell me she's in love."

"Probably not."  Pehn reaches under the table and gets out a bottle of some fancy Caridan beer, popping the top on his own orbital implant and catching the cap before taking a quaff.  "She's in love with playin' old soldier...thinks we're all irrational mavericks who'll..." Pehn was about to say, 'blow a bunch of babies up', then thinks better of it: "...knock an ol' lady over for her shoppin' credits if she doesn't stick her head directly up our plasma-exhaust."

Jaade sits forward again, turning the coin over. "You left out the most important part."

Pehn swishes the beer around in his mouth.  "Which one?"

"Whether or not you like the new Management?"

"Oh, who knows?  Y'know, I've heard from lots o' folks that they're real nasty...Doc Kyri hates 'em like they're the Sith; a cutout for the Ol' Lady tried to recruit me to stick it to 'em; an' the clientele at a certain nightclub've fallen under their influence. They're schuttas, obviously.  But everyone's schuttas...an' they ain't done nothin' to cross me, yet.  I mean...I fought for the Republic, an' they turned out to be half-Revanites an' screw you an' Auranel for little reason.  I fought the Empire, but all it ever brought me was lightfights an' lost opportunities.  Just ain't got the...whatever it is that you need to really give a crap, 'til I get a good reason."

"They did what the Republic never could, right? Shut down the Empire? Hell, if they blew Korriban to hell, they can't be all that bad. If they grounded the Republic, without a Sacking, then they did what the Empire never could, make 'em tuck tail and run. Do their Jedi preach about duty and sacrifice too?"

"Hell if I know...I only seen 'em from afar, so far, an' they looked like they was just doin' Jhonni Law stuff.  I did hear SOME nasty stuff...somethin' 'bout them battlestations an' folks gettin' dragged off to 'em...but that still don't sound as bad as the Empire torchin' Euphrades, or what happened at Ziost. An' it IS nice to be able to get some breathin' room without always havin' to worry 'bout runnin' into uncle or the deathsticks...it's kinda like right after the end o' the Great War, when they were off lickin' their wounds an' you could fly without worry 'bout catchin' old hat."

Jaade sits back again. "You said you flew with a pirate. That mean you had to go blood and guts to make a livin'?"

"Yeah, had to regulate, a few times.  Nar Shaddaa an' Tatooine have slipped right back to uniform, an' the Civil War on Alderaan continues, despite everythin'. But, hopefully, that was then.  With a good ship, an' the creds to outfit 'er, I'm hopin' to play smart instead o' hard, again."

"So no one gets to be a Big Damn Hero. I'm still waitin' for the part where I don't wonder that maybe this was what the galaxy needed."

"You'll have to ask someone with a dog in the fight, or at least a chicken.  My hyperspace accident took me outta commission 'bout as long as you been gone, so I'm still catchin' up."

"Wait, you were drifting for a year? Did you find a wreck to salvage for consumables?"

Pehn rubs his face, again.  "You'd be surprised how far you can stretch consumables when you're givin' timespace a big schoolboy goose.  I was travelin' at relativistic speed."

"That's Pehn Qardaak. Cheats death and comes out as pretty as the day he left. Get it? You're pretty because I'm blind."

"Awww, you're a heartbreaker, Augie.  Speakin' o' which...how you feelin'?  Need to see the sawbones?"

"What hurts ain't going to be fixed by a Doctor. Sure as hell ain't letting any Doctor crazy enough to fly with you to poke at me. Time to sleep again. Funny that, when I lay down, I'm afraid to close my eyes."


"Been asleep a long time. Ain't lookin' for a repeat."

"Well, I could send my engine-girl to kick you in the ghoulies every hour or two, to remind you you ain't dead."

"Depends, does she appreciate steak with freezer burn?"

"She's barely got teeth to chew nerf-burgers with yet, you ol' snowcone.  You ain't gonna stay restive for long if you're askin' questions like THAT."

Jaade stood up, wincing as his thigh gave him troubles. He rubbed it, and Pehn recognized the tell scar of a blaster burn there. Holding on to the rumble couch, he reached for the conduit piping over his head, and followed that to the doorway to the crew bunk he was using, it had a Head right beside it. Before disappearing inside, he turned his head to gaze sightlessly at Pehn. "Care for a wager?"

Pehn grins, searching for the Zakuulan coin.  "...always!"

Jaade held up the coin, palmed in his weathered hands. "Heads, you tell me more about these Tributes, and I'll tell you about where the Jaded Dream might be. Spires, and I go to ground, just like everyone else in the damn galaxy." Jaade snapped his fingers, sending the coin up, and with that damn Spacer's Luck, it landed on the dejarik table, spinning. Jaade didn't wait to see which side landed up...

Pehn crosses his arms and waits for it to stop spinning.

Coin flip is sacred.
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: The Jaded Dream Legacy
« Reply #3 on: 03/21/16, 04:55:55 PM »
Five years...

That's enough time to get lost, get caught, get free, and get lost again.

That's enough time to stay lost, find a destination, make a home, and get drunk.

That's enough time to be overlooked.

That's enough time to be forgotten...

[ Input Search Parameters ]

Fovr yeers

Error: Fovr yeers not a valid search parameter

[ Input Search Parameters ]

Four yerrs

Error: Four yerrs not a valid search parameter

Jaade squinted at the vid terminal then rubbed his eyes. Turning down the lights helped with the strain, but the Calamarian keyboard on the Dynamene's computer terminal wasn't helping. He reached over and drained the glass of Coruscanti Scotch, and then keyed on the microphone.

"Audio input."

"Audio input confirmed. Please state search parameters."

"Four years. Chronological forward."

"...the orbital rotation of the Zakuul Sky Fortress has been confirmed, and with no Republic Naval fleet remaining to oppose the interruption of the planetary approach vector, Coruscant is now an occupied System. When asked for comment, Republic Colonel Lien @Orell stated... "


"...revealed a shipment of technological components that could be considered Capital-scale shipyard grade. The Eternal Empire considers such materials contraband. Taelios Genetech Industries declined to comment, and with no public sightings of the corporation's enigmatic and flamboyant owner Taelios @Lolermelon, speculation runs rampant that... "


"...confirmation that Imperial Battle Group The Valefor have seceded from the Sith Empire, and have formally occupied the Belsmouth Sector in an operation known as @Hawking. With other Flagships of the Sith Empire missing in action, or reported destroyed, it is becoming increasing clear that rumoured turmoil within the Dark Council is true... "


"...new encounters of Killik Hive activity in several Sectors close to Shadren V. Our team was unable to reach Prince @Dorian Numair or his royal representatives for comment, but a declaration from an entity known as Korok proclaimed that a new song is being heard by denizens of the... "


"...entertainment news, it was reported that the Dancer's Palace on Nar Shaddaa, still owned by the @Seraphie Conglomerate, and rumoured to once be a hot bed of underworld activity, is now under Formal Vigilance Watch by the Eternal Empire. Persistent rumours that both Republic and Sith agents would meet in secret at the Dancer's Palace drew increased scrutiny and... "


"...years since any reported sightings of the Republic Vessel Custodian's Watch, Flagship of the Jedi Custodum since the destruction of their enclave on Coruscant just prior to the invasion of the Eternal Empire. The Custodum were under the supervision of Grandmaster @Iaera Farworlder, and many believed they represented the Republic's best chance of resisting the Zakuul forces. With the disappearance of many of the Jedi Council's most formidable Masters, and the withdrawal of the Jedi Knights to their temple on Tython, dissenting opinions spread that the time of the Jedi Knights had passed, and their stand as guardians of peace and justice was at an end. Some System Governors suspect the appearance of the Knights of Zakuul proved that the Jedi were not a unique phenomenon, and instead just another paramilitary arm of whatever ruling government controls the seat of power in the galaxy... "


Jaade rubbed his leg, a dull ache that was persisting since his thaw from carbonite. The scar there reminded Jaade exactly the cause. A blaster burn. A burn from his own modified, powerful blaster. A blaster shot that had @Miller dead to rights. A shot that the Jedi - Miller is a Jedi Knight now - redirected right back at Jaade and hobbled him.

Jaade almost smiled thinking about a wet behind the ears Miller following in the wake of Jace @Colton and Seiyd @Alumar all those years ago. A Coalition that became a company. A company that became a crew. Pehn's crew, chasing that shiny @blingdenston he was always on about. That was so long ago. A different time. A different place.

As he rubbed his leg, Jaade looked over an open cargo box, filled with ponchos and helmets and utility belts. Dragging it close, he pulled out one item after another, until he saw some leggings at the bottom. Armoured leggings, with scratched paint and even some blaster scoring. Mandalorian armour.

@Brintte's armour.

Probably a box of leftovers carried over from the Rodomontade before they scrapped her for salvage. Rubbing his thigh, Jaade studied the armour. His thick thighs would never get squeezed into her skinny coverings. The outfit had probably been custom fitted for her. The armour plates though, that was another matter altogether. If they were Beskar, they'd be hell to cut apart. If they were a metallurgic blend however, mixed with durasteel and other softer metals, then a welding torch and a power prybar might be enough to peel them off, and recycle them to a new use.

Namely, protecting an old Smuggler in search of new tricks...
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: The Jaded Dream Legacy
« Reply #4 on: 01/09/17, 04:16:40 PM »

"Confirm approach vector Stinger Two, proceed to landing bay twelve."

"That's a negative Hoonan's Gambit, the pattern is full. Continue with synchronous high orbit, and approach again on Vector one-seven."

"Attention all Tugs. Power up tractor beams and prepare to guide bulk freighter Tanga-Seven to docking platform four. Keep her clear of the refueling station."

"Unidentified Gozanti Cruiser, state your cargo and destination."

Station Control Officer Deema scowled and tugged her headset away from her ears. "What is that racket?"

Station Control Chief Luza swiveled her chair towards Deema's console. "What do you have Deema?"

"I can't make it out Chief, it's jibberous."

"Patch it through to audio Deema."

"Patching now Chie... "

"GONK. Brrt. Honk-honk. Gonk. GONK. Bronky-burt."

Chief Luza furrowed her brow. "Deema, what is that?"

"No idea Chief."

Chief Luza pointed towards the console. "Route it through the vocabulator."

"Coming up now Chief... wow, it's Binary?"

"How's your Binary, Deema?"

"I'm rusty Chief. Something about an important mission. Wait, now it says... this Unit is a starship? What, what does that even mean Chief?"

An older voice could be heard behind Chief Luza's chair. "What have you found Chief?"

"It's an older Gozanti cruiser. The pilot won't identify themselves, and they aren't responding to any of our commands or hails. Just keeps transmitting a message in Binary. Could be a distress call on playback?"

"Let it go Chief, it's not a problem. It won't be around long enough to concern you."

Chief Luza frowned, realizing she didn't recognize the voice as she swiveled her chair back around. "Who are you? How did you get in here? This is a restricted area."

The man held up his hands. "Ease off the thrusters Chief. I just needed to confirm my ship was here."

Luza stood up, pulling her comlink, intent on calling security. "What do you mean your ship?"

Deema called out from her console, tracking a dozen ships at once, oblivious to the trespasser. "Chief, the Gozanti just made the jump to lightspeed. She's gone."

The man pulled a datapad from his jacket and keyed it on. "Not bad. Only three days off schedule. That many jumps over that many years... " He turned and walked back towards the turbolift. "Oh, and the maglock on your turbolift has been disabled Chief. You should probably have someone look into that."

Chief Luza stepped forward. "I asked you a question, sir. Who are you?" The man paused and turned, smiling at Luza.

"Jaade. Captain of the Jaded Dream. I've been gone too long Chief, it's time to sit the chair again."
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: The Jaded Dream Legacy
« Reply #5 on: 06/03/18, 01:49:45 AM »

featuring cameos by @Esk, @Brintte, @Cordae, @Orell, @Lolermelon, @livia, and @Bolas

I went way, way down the rabbit hole reading some of my old posts and other shared writing I contributed to distant community events. I re-discovered this pure vanity project.

Three years old as of this past May. I am complete self-taught amateur when it comes to cutting and editing audio/video, but this actually still holds up pretty well, and I figure there might be a few players new and old who haven't seen it before.

I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin: